•April 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Greek Left Review

originally posted at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/ 29 April 2012

On Friday 27th April, Christian Amanpour interviewed me on CNN Int on the theme of Europe’s slow suicide by inane austerity. CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO. The transcript of Yanis Varoufakis conversation follows:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  I’m Christiane Amanpour, and welcome to the program.

Just when it looked like Europe might have weathered the worst of the economic storm, some very distressing news this week.  After a brief
period of progress, Britain has gone back into a recession now.  And of course much of Europe never left the recession.  It’s a long and grim list: Greece, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic,Ireland, Portugal, Denmark – and it goes on.

Many of these countries have adopted austerity programs to try and lighten their staggering debt loads.  So in my brief tonight, is that
medicine killing the patient?  In other words, is all that austerity too much too soon?

Look at this graph that we’re putting now in our…

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Theban research at U.Va.

•April 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Last summer three U.Va. students (two undergrads, one grad) and I traveled to Thebes in Greece, as part of a collaboration with the Thebes Museum and the Greek Archaeological Service, to study the finds from the old excavations (early 1900s) in the nearby Late Bronze Age cemeteries (ca. 1490-1200 BCE).

The chamber tombs and the associated finds (which include ceramic vessels, gold and glass paste jewelry, ivory artifacts and bronze weapons) were published by the excavator, Antonios Keramopoullos, in 1917. Our job was to create an updated inventory, complete with digital photographs and descriptions, to accompany a new study of the cemeteries that will be co-authored by Vassilis Aravantinos, Yiannis Fappas and myself.

Alicia and Taylor were one of eight pairs of recipients of the 2011 Double Hoo award (Center for Undergraduate Excellence, U.Va.), selected from a campus-wide field of applicants. The third student, Kat (now working on her Master’s degree in palaeo-environmental studies at the University of Chicago), was offered an Ingrassia award from the Echols foundation.

As part of their award terms, Alicia and Taylor helped make sense of the terracotta material (figurines and pottery respectively). They recently produced a 50-page report in which they jointly discuss changing patterns of mortuary consumption over the attested 300 year-use of these tombs. In addition, their poster on this topic (illustrated) has been selected as a finalist in a separate competition this year, the 2012 U.Va. Presidential Poster Competition (IMPACT).

Over the course of this coming year we are planning to put together our field notes into a coherent document, and combine the data with a new digital map of the cemeteries using a Geographic Information System.

Google Art project

•April 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Google’s art project is rapidly becoming a major depository of art images and photography. I found this striking image in the Benaki Museum of Greek Civilization, showing a fatherless family in WWII Greece (ca. 1945).

Two of the boys gaze with unbearable sadness and reluctant cooperation towards where a second photographer must have stood. The other boy seems defiant, absent, turning away. The mother -the face of sadness, weariness, duty- attempts to maintain family integrity, propping up her youngest so he can rise to the occasion.

But this is not a portrait; the power of this image lies in their disempowerment and devastation. They all surrender to the two cameras in different ways.

Then, from the same collection, there is this bucolic scene, a mere 15 years earlier in 1930s Greece. Two boys, perhaps siblings, keeping watch of a flock. Their blonde hair bathed in the afternoon sun, playfully standing with sticks in their hands, the sounds of humming bees and sheep bells in their ears, against the backdrop of a magnificent coastal landscape (in the Peloponnese?).

Kudos to the Benaki Museum for submitting such photographic material to the Google art project, so that the latter won’t become a parade of glitzy artifacts and famous works of art.

2000 – 2010 από το Ανασκαφικό Έργο των Εφορειών Αρχαιοτήτων

•April 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

2000 – 2010 από το Ανασκαφικό Έργο των Εφορειών Αρχαιοτήτων.

The work of the Greek Archaeological Service now online. What a terrific resource. Hopefully the back issues will also be digitized eventually.

Google Goggles

•February 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Came across an experimental Google utility called Goggles, which allows pattern recognition of any image (text included). I used my Motorola Xoom tablet (Android Honeycomb) with the app. I must say I’m very impressed.

The first few pictures I took (random things around the house) produced unexpected results. The software seems to be looking for all sorts of patterns: not just outline and shape, but also orientation, color, the relationship of an object to background (color, shading etc). As a result, the comparisons can bear only superficial, if amusing, similarities.

Subsequently, I took photos of famous artifacts and monuments from the pages of the textbooks I have assigned for my ancient Egypt course. My rationale being that easily identifiable objects will get me better matches. The results were amazing. Goggles was able to identify specific works of art, entire monuments (as both views and architectural plans) and even movies on the basis of the photos! I can see how that might be problematic for professors who expect memorization and visual identification for exams! What if Goggles allowed one to load his or her own specific images for comparison, instead of comparing to the world wide web -the results would be narrowed down to more relevant comparisons that could be used to automate research. For example, one could load images of ancient pottery from typology handbooks to help speed up the classification of pottery designs and dating.

Computational History – Kovas Boguta

•February 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment

An amazing visualization of social networking at the time of the Egypt internet blackout. I take it this is Gephi at work.

Computational History – Kovas Boguta.


There is such a thing as a free meal

•February 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

From the UVA Hellenic Society:

We are excited to have Professor Bill Wilkerson of the Commerce School and Professor Leonard Schoppa of the Politics Department speak to us about the Greek financial crisis and how that affects development in the region.

Free Greek dinner provided by Cafe Europa
When: February 6th at 7 pm

Where: Eunoia (on the corner of Brandon Ave and JPA).

Sign up here.